Tell us a bit about yourself
I have just turned 54, and still feel young at heart! I raised my children by myself and have two beautiful well-adjusted daughters. I am kind, compassionate, resilient. I met a wonderful man mid-2018, I just feel incredibly blessed for all that I have and the wonderful people in my life.
When did you start thinking you had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol?
I think I have always known. I started binge drinking in my late teens, I got married to a man that drank, and we drank together. My marriage ended in January 2000, over the years the amount that I drank increased, even when money was tight I always made a plan to buy wine. On 2 March 2018 my sister confronted me about my drinking, she was harsh and unsympathetic. I needed to hear everything she said to me. She said my partner(who stopped drinking 11 years previously) could not be with me like this. She was right, when I told him of my decision , the relief on his face was palpable. I have been sober ever since.
What were your objectives when you subscribed to Tribe Sober?
I had already made the decision to stop and I knew I would need support. I shuddered at the thought of joining AA. My sister had come across a Tribe Sober page on Facebook and told me about them.
What have been the main benefits of Tribe Sober membership for you?
For me it has been the tribe, reading what people post, sharing when I was having a bad day, the love and support of complete strangers, that knew better than my loved ones what I was going through. Like- wise being able to encourage and support others. The constant presence of Janet and Sue on the group was like a reassuring arm around me. The workshop on offer is something I would highly recommend. It was a chance to verbalize my relationship with alcohol and realize that many people had had crappy things happen to them in their lives.
What was your first month of sobriety like?
Brutal.. every afternoon when I was driving home from work I could feel the panic rising, how was I going to do this? I would pour myself lime and soda and I would sit by the pool until I had settled down a bit. I would cook supper and then go to bed. I had to change my routine, I could not do the usual evening routine, it was just too hard .I got very sick about three weeks in, I was off work for two weeks, it was only after about four weeks that I started to feel better. The cravings were bad, Lynn one of the Tribe Sober members mentioned that AF beers helped .I went and bought some and I think that as I had never been a beer drinker it helped with the cravings.
What are the best things that have happened to you since you stopped drinking – and the benefits of being alcohol free?
Seeing the love and pride on my daughters and partners faces. I now am able to have conversations with them and remember them. I am truly present in my own life now. Waking up guilt free with a clear head is the most amazing feeling.
What do you say when offered an alcoholic drink?
I was shocked that that person was my friend. She had asked me to taste her Khalua as she could not taste the alcohol. I just said to her that I cannot taste her drink and it was left at that.
If you could go back to a time when you were drinking what would you tell yourself?
That while you drink you will never have self-respect for yourself , it does not help you cope, it just makes everything so complicated and it costs a fortune!
What would you say is keeping you on track?
My partner and my daughters
What have you learned about yourself since you gave up drinking?
I can have a lot of fun without alcohol, I am still funny and fun to be with. I am stronger than I realized
What would you recommend to newbies?
You cannot think more than one day at a time. I remember thinking, I will never enjoy another sunset, I will never sit outside and enjoy watching the rain fall, I would never be able to go out to dinner and enjoy it. Well the sunset and rain while sober are wonderful. I still find going out to dinner a challenge, but now love going for breakfast.
· You will need support
· Lean on your tribe
· Have your AF drinks ready.
· Be careful who you socialize with in the early days.
· You are fragile right now, and that ok, it gets better.
· Do it for your self
· Save what you used to spend on drinking, I have a tidy amount saved up now.
· Download a sober app, it really helps in the early days.
· You can do this, don’t sabotage your self .
· Do not try moderate, its easier to stop.